Dynamic zero-COVID approach, choosing China to protect lives and support economic growth

Residents line up to receive COVID-19 tests in Shanghai, east China, May 17, 2022. The Chinese city of Shanghai has halted community transmission of COVID-19 in all of its 16 districts , a city official said Tuesday. (Xinhua/Liu Ying)

In the face of the highly transmissible variant of Omicron, China is sticking to an aggressive zero COVID policy while most other countries have eased restrictions and turned to life with the virus.

Some foreign media question the sustainability of the dynamic zero-COVID approach, citing the high social and economic cost.

However, China is determined to contain the virus while maintaining economic growth. This strategy stems from a deep concern for the vulnerable, a strong belief in the strength and resilience of the people, and an unwavering faith in the country’s future.

The dynamic zero COVID approach best suits this objective.

Preserving people’s health

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has always put people and their lives first. China’s dynamic zero-COVID policy does not aim to achieve zero infection, but rather to bring COVID-19 under control at minimum social cost in the shortest possible time to effectively protect the health, normal life and production of the Chinese people. for the max.

The relaxation of epidemic control and prevention is not suitable for the most populous country in the world, which is home to 267 million people aged 60 and over and 260 million people with underlying health conditions, currently vaccination rates for the elderly and children are not high enough.

Moreover, with unbalanced regional development as well as insufficient medical resources, China would experience widespread infections with a huge amount of severe cases and deaths if the strict virus control measures were eased prematurely.

“If we are not firm on the dynamic zero-COVID policy, China may miss the best time to stem the resurgence of cases, which could lead to higher costs and unbearable consequences,” said China’s leading epidemiologist recently. Liang Wannian.

If China abandons the current aggressive zero COVID policy, China could face more than 1.5 million COVID-19 deaths, concludes a study published in Nature Medicine.

According to another study published in Lancet, the persistence of COVID-19 dynamic zero community transmission in Shanghai and other regions will overcome the weak links of the immunological barrier in populations across the country.

“When you look at the world, you can say that China’s method is more suitable when you consider public health,” Bulent Ertugrul, an expert from Reyap Hospital in Istanbul, told Xinhua, noting that the dynamic zero-COVID approach has proven to be a significant success. in China.

Since March this year, China has withstood the toughest COVID-19 control and prevention challenge since the Wuhan epidemic battle in early 2020, as sporadic resurgences of domestic cases erupted across the country. many parts of China.

Thanks to the zero-COVID policy of mass testing, quarantine, temporary shutdowns and closed management, the current outbreak wave has steadily shown signs of improvement.

China’s financial hub of Shanghai has halted community transmission of COVID-19 in all of its 16 districts and is seeing more factories resume normal operations and businesses reopen.

Ensuring economic development

It is inevitable that strict anti-epidemic measures will cause short-term economic hardship, but claims that anti-epidemic control and prevention measures will stifle the growth of the world’s second-largest economy are short-sighted.

Dynamic zero-COVID is not against economic development, rather it is an anti-epidemic policy that ensures long-term economic growth.

More than two years into the pandemic, China has made strenuous efforts to strike a balance between epidemic response and economic development.

By adhering to the dynamic zero COVID policy, China was among the first countries to bring the epidemic under control and return to positive growth in 2020 and recorded a growth rate of 8.1% in 2021.

Following a sharp response to the virus and a series of pro-growth policies, China’s economy has gotten off to a steady start this year, with GDP up 4.8% year-on-year over the past few months. first three months.

“The fundamentals of the Chinese economy remain unchanged. The general trends of economic transformation and upgrading and high-quality development remain unchanged,” said Fu Linghui, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Although some indicators recorded contractions in April, the Chinese economy is expected to improve in the coming months as the resumption of work and production accelerates in Shanghai and some other regions.

“With the epidemic under control and people’s production and lives returning to normal, pent-up consumption will be gradually released,” Fu said.

China remains a hot spot for foreign investors seeking predictable market opportunities at a difficult time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Foreign direct investment in the Chinese mainland, actually utilized, rose 25.6 percent year on year to 379.87 billion yuan in the first quarter of the year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

As Bloomberg analyzed, over the past two years, China’s anti-pandemic policy “has prevented large numbers of deaths at home and ensured that everything from iPhones and Teslas to fertilizers and parts cars, continues to flow to the rest of the world”.

“The impact of the epidemic is temporary and short-lived, and the economy will soon be back on track with effective coordination between epidemic containment and economic development,” said Zhao Chenxin, director Deputy of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Relentless control efforts

The global situation of the COVID-19 pandemic is still serious and full of uncertainties, as the virus has constantly mutated and even more dangerous variants may emerge.

At the start of the year, many countries and regions eased their COVID-19 restrictions, only to see the number of cases and death toll skyrocket.

So far, the global death toll from COVID-19 has reached 6.26 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard.

The death toll from the pandemic has exceeded one million in the United States, the highest in the world. And it also has the highest number of infections in the world at 82 million.

The appalling figures are a reminder of the difficulty of the fight against the pandemic and the consequences of the relaxation of control measures.

As a developing country with a population of 1.4 billion, China has managed to maintain the lowest COVID-19 infection and death rates in the world, a clear rationale for effectiveness. of China’s zero COVID policy.

The pandemic is far from over, the dynamic zero COVID approach has helped ensure people’s health and support steady economic development. It turned out to be the best choice so far, why would China give up?